Chris Becker

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Links December 29 2021

Macro & Markets ‘Colossal waste’: Nobel laureates call for 2% cut to military spending worldwide – Guardian Ten of this year’s most destructive weather events cost a combined US$170 billion in damages, according to a new study. – Bloomberg Outlets hurt by dwindling public interest in news in 2021  – APNews Greta Thunberg: “Strange” that

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Links December 28 2021

Macro & Markets Omicron: bleak New Year or beginning of the end for the pandemic? – Guardian Infrastructure battle between global powers is a waste of money and resources – SCMP Why the Federal Reserve is taking a modest approach to raising interest rates – SCMP World economy to top $100 trillion in 2022 for

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Macro Afternoon

A quiet end to the trading year for Asian stock markets with listless sessions across the region as liquidity and trading volume continue to dry up with Wall Street having an early today. The Australian dollar and other risk currencies are holding on to their recent while Bitcoin wants to punch higher above the $51K

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Australian dollar 2021 review

Its been a tumultous year for the little Pacific Peso, the de facto risk proxy alongside the Loonie as a vehicle to reflect to market sentiment, particularly for commodities, but more so in tune with the trevails of iron ore, has followed a similar path this calendar year. Against USD it started out highly elevated

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Macro Morning

Risk markets continued their Santa Claus rally overnight with solid returns on Wall Street and European markets as very low trading volumes mask the veracity of thos returns as we head into the end of the trading year. The latest core PCE and consumer confidence prints for the US came in a little higher than

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Global wealth inequality widens during COVID

As the markets start to slow down for the year, its easy to get the ruler and calculator out and work out where wealth has increased across the world, in a year marked by a second wave of COVID and inflationary fears. One thing that hasn’t changed is inequality. The richer get richer – helped

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Macro Afternoon

Asian stock markets are putting in mild up sessions across the region as liquidity and trading volume continue to fall as we head into the last trading sessions of the year. The Australia dollar and other risk currencies are holding on to their overnight gains but remain in a holding pattern, while Wall Street futures

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Macro Morning

Risk markets continued the little Santa Claus rally overnight with solid returns on Wall Street and European markets but again, very low trading volumes maybe masking the solidity of these returns as we head into the end of the trading year. The final GDP prints for the EU and US came in a little higher

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FT: Bitcoin is the greatest Ponzi scheme ever

FT has a great article from Robert McCauley, a non-resident senior fellow at Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center and associate member of the Faculty of History at the University of Oxford about how Bitcoin may end up being not just the greatest Ponzi scheme ever, but worse on a social level – an actual

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Daily iron ore price update (steel demand falls)

There were slight pullbacks across the iron ore price complex on Wednesday in China, with spot prices cooling off 2% or so, while futures also pulled back: “(Steel demand) is gradually shifting from the peak season to the off-season cycle, and consumption is expected to gradually pull back from the previous month,” Huatai Futures analysts

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Macro Afternoon

Asian stock markets are quickly slowing down in terms of risk taking after the previous bounce back as liquidity and trading volume continue to dry up faster than a Coalition promise. The Australia dollar and other risk currencies are dropping back even further, while Wall Street futures are steady and oil prices retracing slightly after

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Commodities punch higher in 2021

As we slide into the end of the calendar year, performance charts are propping up and this one from trader Steve Burns showing the year to date (YTD) runs in commodities and other assets is fascinating: Big moves higher in fossil fuels after being oversold during the first phase of the COVID pandemic, but real

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BOA: Australian dollar to surge in 2022

The Australian dollar is still stuck between a tight band of support at 71 cents and resistance at 72 cents as we head into the end of the trading year, following a steady decline from the heights reached in October: The continued dovish RBA compared to the Fed, BOE and ECB is clearly weighing on

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Macro Morning

Risk markets swiftly bounced back last night as they hinged on reports about vaccine efficacy against Omicron, plus the lower hospitalisation rates seen – combined with some strong earnings data and very low liquidity on oversold stocks. Wall Street bounced the hardest, pulled along by a frenzy of buying in tech stocks while currency market

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Daily iron ore price update (shipments increase)

Prices continued to push higher on Tuesday, with futures across Chinese and Singapore markets lifting for a fourth session in row, with demand hopes still lingering. But domestic rebar and coking coal futures slipped instead:   More on the sentiment and the burgeoning iron ore stockpile: “Once again, the direction, momentum and quantum of iron

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Macro Afternoon

Asian stock markets are putting in sharp bouncebacks across the region, spurred on by some very low liquidity as traders start their Christmas holidays and of course, oversold conditions surrounding the new OMICRON outbreak.   The Australia dollar and other risk currencies are relatively steady, with safe havens pulling back slightly while Wall Street futures are

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Is the Baltic Index drop a warning sign for markets?

The canary in the coal mine that indicates a probable slowdown going into 2022 maybe something brewing in the staid world of shipping, with the Baltic Dry Index having a shocking week that has extended into a poor start yesterday, with nine straight losses in a row, now taking it to the April lows. Nearly

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Macro Morning

The dual threats of rising inflation and the spread of the new omicron variant are spooking risk markets going into the last sessions of the trading year, with a Santa Rally definitely off the table. Wall Street fell over with European stocks having high volatility amid lower finishes while currency market volatility abated somewhat with

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Daily iron ore price update (demand hopes rise)

The iron ore complex is one market that is properly rallying going into Christmas and the Chinese New Year with spot prices up nearly 5% to cross the $120 barrier again for a new three month high. Singapore futures rose nearly 7% on Monday but local Dalian futures were off 1%: It’s all about the

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Macro Afternoon

A red day on Asian stock markets but its not Santa coming with a rally to end the year out as fear over property debt contagion in China combined with a surprise cut in Chinese interest rates is spilling over into other risk markets.  The Australia dollar and other risk currencies are retracing sharply, with

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PBOC doves amid the Western hawks

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced a surprise five basis points (bps) cut to the benchmark one-year Loan Prime Rate (LPR) to 3.80% this morning, while keeping the five-year rate intact around 4.65%:   This puts it into stark contrast with Western central banks with the Fed ready to unleash up to six rate

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Macro Morning

Risk markets were not happy following the BOE and ECB meeting’s where policy tightening against inflation is mounting, but it was a Federal Reserve member on Friday night that made markets break for the safe havens, with a “live” March meeting – and hence a quicker response  – was raised. Already spooked equities fell back

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Daily iron ore price update (stockpiles mount up)

Friday saw iron ore prices zoom to a new seven week high, putting in a fourth straight weekly gain, as hopes about a recovery in steel demand fostered speculation on Chinese markets. Dalian futures also rose, almost hitting $700 intrasession while rebar bounced back. However, reports that stockpiles of imported iron ore rose above 156

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Macro Afternoon

Asian stock markets are putting in some very poor finishes to the trading week as the post ECB/BOE policy tightening volatility shifts to equity markets following a much weaker USD that has substantially reversed overnight. The Aussie dollar is following risk markets lower while Bitcoin hovers just below the $48K level, but its all about

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WA shuts borders and QLD dons the mask

Western Australia continues down the path of shutting the gate before its too late with another tightening of the borders: Travel to Western Australia from every state will be restricted from midnight on Sunday, as Premier Mark McGowan again tightens the state’s border rules. Queensland will move to medium-risk status at that point, meaning only

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Macro Morning

It was a night of the hawks with the BOE and ECB signalling their intentions to tighten policies, with the former actually raising rates (alongside the Norwegians too) which saw the USD weaken immediately against the major currency pairs, but also spooked equities with Wall Street taking back all its post-FOMC gains.  The bond market